Monday, June 29, 2015

Jergen Teller for Louis Vuitton

Source: I don't recall ...
This is a Jergen Teller photograph that is being sold at Louis Vuitton stores from what the fine print reads. The location of the window is not revealed. I imagine that it is somewhere in Paris ... because that is what I want to believe of this lovely wood frame looking through wrought ironwork to trees to be located.

At first glance, I had eyes only for the window and the soft sun filtering through the trees, but I see modernism encroaching at the edges. You'll see in the bottom, right corner of the photograph a sculpture is set on what looks to be a steel base. It becomes distracting as I study the picture. As is the calla lily in the black, what appears to be, glass vase. Oh, and the rug ... it looks to be black with a white geometric pattern on it. The absence of these three images would, for me, make this picture perfect. As I examine it, I don't like it quite as much for the noise that the modern creates in what to be should be tranquil and quiet.

I suppose that some things should not be so closely examined. Perhaps, I should have just turned the page and to be left with a flash of what I thought that the photograph was meant to portray.

Friday, June 26, 2015

U2- The Experience

Bono at the United Center
I've never kept track of how many times that I've seen U2 over the years. It has been many ... and what I saw last night was truly the experience that the boys have meant to put together. It's a visual and audio scrapbook full of the moments of what has made them the band that they are and their journey through the last three decades of sound to a point where they can look back and find that they aren't that far away from the origin of the species (yes, that is a U2 song) or genesis of the band.

The show opened up hard core. Bono loves to explain that they are a punk rock band. The punk being the idea of the band more than the music itself ... their songs have always been more contemplative that what Johnny Rotten offered up. And though the Clash were certainly social commentators, they never looked into the soul of their reason for being quite like what U2 has done, I would argue, all along. I thought that I was in a mosh pit; unfortunately, the guy next to me wasn't real happy when I slammed into him ... gently, of course.

When the Songs of Innocence was released to iTunes, I was over the moon. I had been waiting for a new U2 record quite impatiently. I was so flustered by the news that it had arrived that I had a hard time getting it into my iTunes library. Unlike those that had a bottle of milk delivered that that they didn't want, I thought that the idea of the transaction was very punk. And I listened to it until I warped it and then the retail release came, and I bought it. The release included a couple of new songs and new arrangements of all of the original ones. The reimagining of the songs sooth me. If the bands intent was to write great songs, they accomplished it. The songs are beautiful, poignant, and universal with their themes of love and loss, time and tide. During Song for Someone, I was very close to Bono as he sang from the stage. I had my arms up in the air, my body swayed from side to side, and I belted it out with him:
You let me into a conversation
A conversation only we could make
You're breaking into my imagination
Whatever's in there is yours to take

As I sang it with him, he locked into me. I felt it. And I would have thought that it was a schoolgirl imagining except that my sister also felt it. That's the thing about Bono and the band, I don't mean to leave them out of this, one could be of many, yet it can be one that feels singularly connected to him/them. To the song. To the energy of the venue. To the celebration of heart and purpose.

The show was not without politic. How can Irishmen not be about that. And it resonated and rang bells. I felt particularly sure of it when Bono sang for the victims of the South Carolina massacre Pride. And though I usually feel the pride that he sings of in this song, it became sorrowful. Over and over he said that America is an idea, America is an idea. And he knows from his work in the world that it is when you think that you've conquered something that it rears its ugly impossibility somewhere else. And we, in America, have a lot of somewhere elses of late. I couldn't help but be reminded that a block away from where I work, a drive by hit four people, one of whom has died. What part of the idea allows for these senseless, if that's the right word, acts to occur.

I suppose this is what keeps me coming back to an U2 show. It is an exchange of ideas, emotion, and love. I feel empowered as I walk out the door and wonder what my part is in the idea. I haven't just had too many overpriced beers, I'm thinking. I've been shaken from the stupor that is day to day. And this is very punk.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Crazy Eyes

Oprah July 2015
Last summer, my niece flew into town to attend Spring Awakening, the 3-day EDM festival. She had graduated from high school, and her gift was to spend the weekend with my sister and I. Fortunately, my niece is what is known as 'chill,' and she didn't need to be in the thick of a pounding bass line for every second that the festival was open. She had other things to do ... get a pedicure, eat, take a nap, eat, oh! And watch the second season of Orange is the New Black.

I had seen the listing on Netflix, but I just couldn't see watching a show about women in prison. It didn't seem appealing, but my niece insisted that I would love it, and she was willing to go through Season 1 to get to
Season 2 so that I could see the whole series. And with that first episode, I was hooked.

This year, we had the same diabolical plan to Orange it by day for the newly released Season 3 and EDM it by night. Unfortunately, her school schedule got in the way, and we had to resort to 'fan texting' through some of the episodes. As a college student, even though she had a test to study for, she managed to rip through Season 3 in 2-days. Me? It took a week.

 A lot has been written about Orange, so I won't bother with the usual exploration of the fact that a show is almost exclusively about women and that it has given actresses, who would normally never work on a major television or movie project, the opportunity to demonstrate their skills. I will only say, simply, that it is a great story and the characters are ones that are either deplorable (Piper ... the main character ... I hate her) or so faceted that they are endearing and able to break the heart.

Crazy Eyes is my girl (the actress above). In Season 3, she really came into her own moving beyond the crazy and into the vulnerable and sweet, which she is. If you don't watch the series, Crazy Eyes is socially the equivalent of, maybe, a fifth grader. One of the great things about Orange are the flashbacks that take us to the story of how the character became who she is today. I don't know if I've seen enough of Susan's, aka Crazy Eyes, past to really understand her, but she's obviously broken and desperately in need of love and attention. And she ain't no dummy. In these episodes, she's taken the drama class seriously and when tasked to write a scene, she comes up with a sexual/time traveling/something or another epic that her fellow inmates immediately subscribe to. She's the hapless creator of a prison Fifty Shades of Grey ... and it is revealed that all of the naughtiness has been conjured up in her mind as  she is the innocent that dwells behind her sometimes volatile nature.

In some respects, not many, I understand where ole Crazy Eyes is coming from. In the last season, a bad women comes into the prison, who immediately begins work on Crazy to make her an accomplice. She does so by paying attention to her, making her feel valuable. Naturally, her intentions are not on the up and up, and she will use Susan to do her dastardly deeds. And even after the dust has settled, Susan defends her because she appealed to the part of her that no one else does. It's her vulnerability that allows for this to happen. Though I'm not about to cause bodily harm to someone else or take the fall for another, I understand how Crazy Eyes felt connected to her manipulator, and how it is so hard to believe that that she didn't have the best intention when she trusts everyone to have that.

Uzo Adubo, the actress who plays Crazy Eyes, is marvelous. How she climbs into a character that is not only mentally a cacophony of movement and chaos, but physically has all of the quirks of someone who isn't quite sure that she is alive in this world. Like a baby, her body moves without will or control, except the body is that of a full-grown woman. It really is something to watch. And when, in the last scene of Season 3, she disappears and then is found, the expression on her face is one of someone who doesn't understand how the world is meant to tear you down, not fill you with joy. It's something to consider.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Game of Thrones: Emilia Clarke

Harper's Bazaar May 2015
I've not ever seen The Game of Thrones, and it a series that many of my family and friends say that I need to see. It's in its eighth season, perhaps? That's a lot of catching up to do.

Typically, when I run through a magazine, I skip most of the interviews of celebrities that grace the cover. And, for the most part, it is a celebrity and not a model that is on the cover. For this, I did read it for whatever reason I know not. But Clarke lept off of the page and was captivating in an English, charming way- sort of a flibbertigibbet. I quite know what one of those is!

One of the things that I've been told about Game of Thrones is that a lot of breasts are shown. My sister, who is not endowed in this department, commented that she doesn't feel as bad about her deficiency in this area as she's seen so many on the show that she's come to peace with the fact they do come in all shapes and sizes.

In the article, she describes the first seen that she is revealed: "The crew was a few cliffs over, " she continues, "so it's me, four or five extras, and Iain Glen [the loyal-to-a-fault Ser Jorah]. Iain does this thing where he lifts his head and his face goes, 'aahh, naked lady.' But because they were filming so far away, what he said was 'great tits, love.'"

In the picture above, Clarke is wearing Proenza Schouler. You may recognize it as the dress another person of fame has worn lately on the heel of the news that she is pregnant, except in black. I like the red. It's more powerful, and as she is the queen, no? She needs to wear it. One of the other dresses in the editorial is this dragon one from Valentino. It really is quite exquisite, isn't it. That's there's fire in the foreground is brilliant. If she has, indeed, risen from the ashes of a fire with dragons on her shoulders ... we've got it here.